We have all heard the phrase "money talks". Have you ever wondered what it said? Well that all depends on how much of it you have, and where you plan on spending it. Money has a language that is translated through power and inequality. It is the transporter of goods and services, of knowledge and identity. It weaves its way through a system that bypasses some and leaves others with a hefty share. As it grows and divides, money finds itself entangled in everything, replacing morality with greed. It gets stronger and stronger, evolving into institutions, embedding itself in the brains of all that inhabit its world. For those who have been touched by the golden hands of prosperity, money provides shelter, a cloak of being that distinguishes them from the less fortunate. In order to keep the hierarchy stable, certain conditions are established, one of which is education. Here, the formal breeding ground of society is constructed in such a way that certain values are emphasized amongst the various groups. These values will result in future status, career paths, and ability to succeed. This unique economic institution called education serves two very distinct purposes, to turn individuals into capital investments, and to perpetuate social class. In this paper, I will contrast Smith College and the University Of Massachusetts, and discuss the ways in which cultural and socio-economic class is exemplified in higher education.
First of all, it is important to understand the many dimensions of class. When evaluating the dynamics of a school that is supposed to represent a higher class, we must first know what to look for. What are the social markers that indicate class in education? When I think of upper class, what types of words pop into my head? I compiled a list of a few things that I would expect to find at Smith College based on my ideas about class. These included such things as prestige, comfort, space, attention, power, money, influence, competition, independence, opportunity, luxury, leadership, honor, and alliance.